It has been an incredibly lovely, long, luxurious and hot summer here in Wainui. After nine years in the Christchurch region, this was by far the loveliest weather we’ve had. I felt like I had a summer – a summer of fun: camping trips, lots of visitors, abundance from the garden, and another round of woofers.
January was a month full of activity. During my 3 ½ weeks in San Francisco with my family over the holidays, Bruce and Nina remained at Birdsong and hosted a wide array of people and activities. A woofer couple came for three weeks and tended to a long list of tasks that definitely helped us stay on top of all the growth of the season; a spontaneous retreat happened where several friends came and spent a few nights; and our builder-friend Evan came for two weeks and built us a new deck off the kitchen – we now have a much bigger space off the kitchen area within which to sit and enjoy outside brekkies!
Upon my return on January 10th, Bruce & I had about ten days together before he took off to Florida to go on a week-long jazz cruise with his father and then spend another week visiting family & friends. During that time, I attended the Luminate Festival in Takaka (Golden Bay) with a cadre of friends from around the South Island. It was a marvelous week of camping, laughing, dancing, and sitting around with my buds: Kristen, Hudson, Dawn, Steve, Shona, Stephan, Lucy, Ian, Tejas, Tom, and Evan. Good times!
In February, we mainly hunkered down in Wainui and hosted several rounds of friends. Stephan came with his Swiss visiting parents for a few days; Lady Steph from Dunedin dropped in for a weekend; and Evan popped out to finish the last bits of the deck job. The garden flourished – harvest of the garlic, shallots, the last of the broad beans and peas, and lots of leafy greens and zucchini to eat. The floral display was in full form with heaps of pollen for the bees!
We sailed in to March with lots of back and forths to Christchurch, dealing with life stuff like getting cars serviced, dental check-ups and doctors visits. Both Bruce and I are feeling our age a bit more as we notice lengthier times for recovering from mild injuries – he’s tweaked out his back twice this year and I’ve been dealing with a re-injured shoulder due to an over-enthusiastic dance and yoga regime! Me and the Wainui ladies kicked off the term for our weekly fitness classes and Lucy came out do teach our Nia class.
During last two weeks of March we hosted a woofer cohort consisting of a Belgian couple and a Singaporean woman. It was a FANTASTIC two weeks of woofing with high quality conversations, lots of laughter, and fun. This group were all between 28 and 30 years of age and were definitely very interested in finding out about alternative ways of living – we talked and shared on a wide range of topics. The big project we accomplished was the ‘recovery’ of the rhododendron and camellia flower dell that runs along our driveway. This is a lovely spot planted with ten varieties of floral bushes/trees that had become very overgrown over the last five years. Bruce chainsawed and cleared non-floral saplings that had grown everywhere, the woofers spent days weeding, pruning, and detangling invasive vines that had grown on the plants, and we then mulched each plant with a pile of pine needles that we collected from the nearby pine forest. We also cleared a walking path through the dell, over the stream and through the bush AND we finally had enough manpower to move the awesome wooden bridge that I picked up from Christchurch into place over the stream. As if all that wasn’t enough, the gang helped with general upkeep around the house – trimming hedges, pruning agapanthus, collecting hops, cracking walnuts, and stacking wood. Super awesome team!
At the end of the month I jetted up to Auckland for a long weekend to attend a international yoga festival weekend (which was awesome) and spend a few days with friends; Bruce spent a weekend in Christchurch attending a one-day yoga meditation and seeing friends too.
The beginning of April marked Bruce’s 50th birthday (finally catching up with me!) — on the actual day, April 2, we had a lovely day at home, just chilling and eating cake! The following week we held a bit of an ‘open house’ and invited friends, new and old, to drop in. We had much fun, every day with a different crew – Carrie Jo; Margaret & Dan from Soul Design; Evan; and Jesse & Vivian. And if that wasn’t lovely enough, we also hosted Amber from New Jersey whose woofer profile we just liked and so asked her to come join in on the unexpectedness of Bruce’s birthday madness. Amber brought her masseuse talents and thus her ‘job’ at Birdsong was to gift both Bruce and I two multi-hour-long massages each over the course of four days. Oh…my….god…. so amazing! We’ve also managed to start on some art projects!
And that brings us to the present. Bruce left last week for the U.K. to attend his annual Jill Purce mandala workshop held in Glastonbury. I’m home holding the fort with Nina retreating in Wainui. Autumn is here – the summer gardens are dying down and now it’s time for weeding and preparing the veggie and floral beds to overwinter; the walnuts, apples, peaches, and quince have been harvested; we are working our way through the last of our zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, and kale.
Truly, we are blessed with amazing abundance.